ABS C1185 trouble code

Tiny
KISSAWIND
  • MEMBER
My hubby just took the light bulbs out of the dash. Brakes work fine for me without the abs, so we have just learned to live with it. Ford needs to step up and fix this.
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Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 AT 11:33 AM
Tiny
REFRIEDBEANCOUNTER
  • MEMBER
Found out my MAF was not connected all the way. Runs fine now with ABS and jumper disconnected.
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Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 AT 12:24 PM
Tiny
JSJ
  • MEMBER
I was convinced the most likely solution to fix the "Intermittent ABS and Brake light issue" on my 2002 Ford Windstar was to replace the ABS Electronic Control Module (ECM).

Based on the prices people have paid to have the ABS ECM replaced as reported on this and other sites, I couldn't afford to have the dealer do it so I set off to repair the van on my own. This is a description of what it took to fix the problem by myself. I hope it is helpful to others.

Background information

The van had 146,000 miles on it when it started exhibiting the issue this summer. It is primarily driven in Michigan. The van's Speed Control Deactivation Switch located under the master cylinder is not leaking. There was no trace of brake fluid on the wire harness leading from it nor on/in the ABS electrical connector connected to the ABS ECM. The dealer had already performed the recall for installing the short fusible link jumper to the SCDS last year.

Module Master in Moscow, Idaho. Just recently added the FORD Kelsey-Hayes 430 ABS ECM used in this vehicle to the list of modules they repair. I was told there is a newly hired Master's degree EE graduate that found a way to fix and test the controller this summer.

My repair experience

The first problem I had to solve was how to access the ABS control unit assembly, located under the driver's seat under the car. I had to drive the van up on oil-changing ramps in my garage and then jack up the back of the van and put jack stands under it. This enabled me to have just enough room to roll under it and manuveur tools. Once the car was secure, I removed both battery cables (negative first) and got to work.

First, a splash guard was unbolted from the frame which exposed the ABS control unit assembly (composed of the Electronic Control Module (ECM), and the Hydraulic Control Module (HCM)). Brake lines were loosened from thier holders. The ECM electrical connector was removed by pulling the back handle of the connector toward the rear of the van, then gently rocking it off the remaining distance to clear the socket. The ABS control unit assembly was then unbolted and lowered with the brake lines attached.

My hope was to leave the brake lines attached to the HCM and carefully remove the ECM from it as described in repair books and online instructions as seen in instructions e-mailed to me by Module Master. However, the screws that connect the ECM to the HCM face up. There wasn't much room to use the Torx wrench with a mirror to remove the ECM screws from the HCM. In my case, this attempt was unsuccessful because the ECM screws were rusted into the HCM.

So I disconnected the ABS control unit assembly from the brake lines and removed it so I could have better access to the ECM screws. [Tip - hold down the brake pedal with a rod between the pedal and the seat before disconnecting the brake lines from the HCM - it will prevent you from draining the brake fluid reservoir like I did.]. Once the ABS control unit assembly was removed from the vehicle, I was able to take off the ECM by twisting off the Torx-head machine screw heads with a screwdriver Torx bit. I ended up breaking 3 of the 4 screw heads so finding replacement screws was going to have to be part of my repair process. The remaining threads of each screw were later removed with vice-grips and penetrating oil.

I sent in the ABS control module to Module Master. A technician upgraded and repaired it for $200 plus shipping. The technician replaced several components with more robust components (surge protection/wave shaper, better amplifier, better relay), tested it in a simulator, and cleared any error codes. It was sent back the day after they received it with a certificate with a 5 year part repair warranty. That's better than Ford's new part 1 year warranty. The programmable data that needs to be reprogrammed on a replacement unit by the dealer was still intact inside the repaired unit. No reprogramming was necessary, which saved some cash.

Also, Module Master had available for purchase a bag of replacement screws for $5. I didn't have to procure screws separately, which was a relief. This screw bag included four new screws, grease for the electronics connections, copper-based grease for the threads of the replacement screws, and a TORX wrench.

After screwing the repaired ECM back onto the freshly cleaned surface of the HCM, I mounted this ABS control unit assembly under the vehicle, connected the brake lines and the wire harness electrical connector, refilled the brake fluid reservoir with new brake fluid, and proceeded to bleed the brakes. By the way, I installed the Speed-bleeder check-valve bleed screws on the calipers and drums while I was waiting for the ECM to be repaired so I could bleed the brakes unassisted. Putting it all back together and bleeding the brake lines took me about two hours. Once that was done I replaced the battery cables (positive first) and started the van. Good: no ABS light or break light issues, but I really didn't expect any since once tested at Module Master, internal ABS error codes were cleared.

I proceeded to test the brakes on a dirt road which caused ABS activation. This worked fine. Activating and testing the ABS system on the dirt road like this can also bleed the ABS HCM of trapped air, sending the air bubbles from the back half of the HCM into the brake lines. I then bleed the brakes again to remove any additional air that might have been released from the HCM. Just to be sure there was no air, a few days after this was done, I also took it to the Ford dealer and paid about $40 for the mechanic to use the car computer to do the ABS bleed again (they also did the axle check recall). The mechanic didn't bleed the brakes! He told me the air just rises to the reservoir when this ABS bleed procedure is commanded by the computer. I didn't recognize any difference in the way the pedal felt before or after this was done so maybe my dirt road activation was all I really needed after all.

Conclusion

Now several weeks have gone by and the ABS light, Brake light issue has not returned and the ABS functions properly. I consider the repair a success and thank all that contributed knowledge of this issue to this thread.

P.S. If you had or have a dealer replace your ABS control unit, and you still have the old part, Module Master's will pay for it. See their web site for details.
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Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 AT 8:21 PM
Tiny
BLONDIEZ1970
  • MEMBER
Well, the last post was a year ago. I am now starting to have these problems with my 2002 ford windstar. I have been reading, and only thing that was recalled was something for the cruise control, that it could catch fire. Well after reading forum after forum, I now know why, and I feel ford didn't fix this problem properly. I had my van at the dealer in 2010 for the cruise control issue, and now a couple of weeks ago, my brake light and abs lights are coming on, when I turn my van off and on (errands, shopping etc) it stalls and doesn't want to stay started. When I turn the wheel while in park, it shuts off, and now that my brake and abs lights are on, while driving it wants to stall now. Still have same emissions problems, same as every year, and tired of putting money into it to pass inspection/emissions when the money I put it is more than what the vehicle is worth, and while still have a lien on it for 7 more months. My inspection/emissions is due this month, and guess what, I will drive another 18 months with dead stickers and hope I don't get pulled over, because I just don't have the financial means to fix my van this year, especially now that my engine light is back on, brake/abs lights back on, stalling etc.
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Thursday, September 8th, 2011 AT 5:08 PM
Tiny
SCUBACAT
  • MEMBER
I took off the EBCM and very carefully cut the top off with a dremel. I then resoldered all the solder joints and glued the top back on with plastic epoxy. I have not seen the lights once since I did this and it's been 6 months now. Unfortunately the studs were corroded so badly that I had to cut them off to get the EBCM off, and I had to take off the HCU as well just to get that done. Thus, I had to pay for a brake flush to bleed the air out when I hooked it back up. The brake fluid was pretty cruddy looking, though, so it was probably a good thing in the long run.
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 AT 10:09 PM
Tiny
MRANDMRSVELVET
  • MEMBER
I have 2003 Windstar. Very similar problems, abs light and e-brake light come on randomly. I took it to the dealership and they had 3 codes come up. I don't know the numbers, but it says power relay fault, inlet and outlet valve circuit fault. Possible bad ads modual and hcu. They quoted $2500 to fix this. My question. Does my van still work safely or do I have to have this fixed? Thanks
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Sunday, March 18th, 2012 AT 5:22 PM
Tiny
SCUBACAT
  • MEMBER
When the lights come on, that basically means that the ABS isn't working at that time. That does not affect your regular braking ability. Only if you were to lose traction, you may or may not have the ABS to help you at that moment. (It's basically like driving a car that has no ABS to begin with.)

The dealer is completely lying; it is JUST the ABS module (EBCM). If the HCU were failing, you would have a serious safety issue. I have yet to hear of one ever failing, though. The other "issues" are simply a result of their inability to apply common sense to computer-based diagnostics.

If you're not comfortable doing what I did, you can either ignore the lights, remove the bulbs, or if you definitely want to fix your ABS, *repair* the EBCM. (If you replace it, the new unit will have the same defect and will eventually fail again.) Pull the two ABS fuses and either remove it yourself or pay a mechanic to remove it for you without disconnecting the HCU (tricky but can be done). Then, ship it off to a rebuild service for repair. A popular one is modulemaster but they're kind of expensive. There are several individuals who will repair the flaw much cheaper; check ebay -- that's where I'd go for this. You'll send it off to them, they'll repair it, and send it right back to you. Then, simply reinstall the repaired unit and the fuses back into your van and the codes/lights will disappear and your ABS will be working again.
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Monday, March 19th, 2012 AT 12:00 AM
Tiny
BIGREZ
  • MEMBER
Its been a while since I visited this site and was hoping against all hope that a recall would be issued to fix my issue.

2003 windstar lx california use only

We had the ABS and brake light issue, as well as speedometer issues. No other issues that I know of. We kept up all regular maintenance and the van was is great mechanical condition otherwise.

Last weekend, my wife swerved to avoid someone changing lanes into her space. She lost control on slightly wet road at 55mph. The car flipped, clipped a tree, and smashed on its side into a light pole.

What concerns me is that the AIRBAGS DID NOT DEPLOY even though the front end struck something. The rear axle tore from the van and I have to wonder if that's related to the other axle issues.

Could they be related? Could the airbag failure be due to the abs/brake light issue?

Thanks,

Mike
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Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 AT 7:23 AM
Tiny
LNIK888
  • MEMBER
Hey, Ive been having windstar for couple years since my parents gave it to me after I got married. I fixed everything in it since then and the only thing that kept bothering be is the abs light, that comes on occasionaly, just randomly. (Only abs light, red brake light never came on along with it) After a reading a lot of posts and forums on the topic I now decided to go ahead a take apart the main abs module. Its a hard thing. I almost broke off on the brake lines as it got stock to the nut connection the goes to the main unit, I decided to part off just the ecu itself, its been a hassle as well, the old screws broke off, only two ive able to screw out with wise grips. Ok, it took me couple hours to open the ecu (with my wife's help, she was holding the unit and heating on the torch the blade :)) after which I found out that the ecu was not damaged inside due to high heat. The solderings looked all good. I found out that when taking the unit apart I accidentally broke off one of the coils in the unit, + two of the coils got ruslty. SO I decided to go ahead and buy a new unit off ebay. The guy accepted my offer of 300 bucks, which I think is not the works price for a new oem unit. SO, now im waiting for it, when I install the new one and give it a test drive for a while I will write off and let you guys know whether it solved the problem or not. Sorry for my limited english, as im an immigrant :) I think we all are, its just the matter of the time lived in the states. :) Thanks, Nik.
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Friday, May 9th, 2014 AT 10:19 PM

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